Aug 04, 2017

10 food swaps that will change your life

We’ve become a nation of ‘foodies’.

It’s no secret that we are all loving our food, whether or not that is whipping up something tasty at home or treating ourselves to a meal out. But are we taking note of what we are putting in to our bodies and are we taking full advantage of alternatives out there?

Perhaps we are all lacking a bit of knowledge.

We all want to be eating well but who has the time? And how do we know if something is good for us or not? There’s a new food trend out every five minutes telling us what we should and shouldn’t be eating. But who knows what to believe anymore?

One big issue we are all facing is our misconceptions. A lack of understanding as to what is healthy and what is actually full of sugar. This is, mainly, thanks to the conflicting information available for us to read.

Should we all be eating smashed avocado on toast like everyone else on Facebook?

We know it can be tough to decide what to cut out of our diets and what to keep. So, we have put together a list of 10 food swaps that will help change your diet and lifestyle. And by diet, we don’t mean eating celery sticks and picking at dry rice crackers, we mean your overall food choices.

Swap out: Ready- made breakfast pots

Swap in: Overnight oats

Some ready-made breakfast pots are full of sugar and aren’t likely to fuel your body with the energy it needs to get through the day. They’re handy and quick when on the go, but are doing nothing for your waistline.

In this article, expert’s give their opinions as to whether or not breakfast on the go is in fact good for you.

Something that particularly stood out for us was an expert’s opinion on the Activia breakfast pot: “Yogurts are a good source of calcium and this provides almost 20 per cent of the recommended daily amount, but a pot has about four teaspoons and I doubt this would be enough to see most people through the morning.”

So what’s the alternative?

Why not try overnight oats?

Overnight oats are great for controlling cravings and losing weight. Our Blueberry and Pecan Overnight Oats recipe is full of protein and fibre. High fibre foods are great for weight loss because they keep you fuller, for longer.

Swap out: Peanuts

Swap in: Edamame

Peanuts are a great snack. They’re full of nutrients and, if eaten in moderation, are a great add-on to your diet. However, when choosing peanuts as your go to snack, are you sticking to just a small portion or are you overindulging? Like most things, if you eat too much, the calories quickly add up. And peanuts are high in calories and fat.

Edamame beans on the other hand are full of protein and are great for lowering the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Just 1 cup of frozen, prepared edamame contains 17 grams of protein with only 189 calories.

Swap out: Milk chocolate

Swap in: Dark chocolate

We’re not saying that you should stop eating milk chocolate and stuff yourself with dark chocolate, but, having small amounts of dark chocolate in moderation to fix your sweet craving is much better than reaching for the milk chocolate every time. As a rule of thumb, the higher the cocoa content, the better it is for you.

So if you fancy a sweet treat, enjoy a few cubes of dark chocolate, guilt free.

Swap out: Beef steak

Swap in: Salmon

While eating red meat will not make you put on weight, it is commonly associated with having a high blood cholesterol and can be high in saturated fat; making it harder to burn off at the gym.

A healthier alternative is salmon.

Salmon is a lean protein that fits nicely into a healthy diet plan. It is rich in Omega-3 which is essential for your body to function and, if eaten on a regular basis, can help to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Replacing fatty red meats and junk food in your diet with salmon may reduce overall calorie intake, eventually helping you lose body fat.

Swap out: Couscous

Swap in: Quinoa

There is nothing wrong with couscous itself. However, by swapping the processed grain for quinoa, you could benefit from a far more nutritional and waist-friendly meal.

Quinoa is not only less processed, gluten-free and a good source of slow-release energy (meaning it keeps you full and satisfied for longer), it is a much better source of fibre and is a great source of protein.

What more could you want?

Interested in including Quinoa into your diet but not sure how to? Check out our Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame & Tarragon recipe.

Swap out: Granola bar

Swap in: Trail mix

As well as being high in fat and calories, granola bars often contain a lot of sugar. If you’re looking for a healthy snack, try a trail mix. But be sure to make your own!

Trail mix was originally created to be eaten while hiking or doing other strenuous activities. It's lightweight, portable, and full of energy-dense ingredients. In other words, they make a great snack that keep your food cravings at bay.

Make your own healthy trail mix with raisins or Goji berries, almonds and sunflower seeds. But don’t forget, if you’re going to use peanuts in your trail mix, moderation is essential.

Swap out: Crisps

Swap in: Popcorn

It is no secret that crisps are bad for you, so why is it when we want a snack, we reach for a packet of cheese and onion? It would seem we just love that crunch!

If it is the sensation of eating something a little bit naughty you are craving, why not reach for the popcorn instead? Although you can buy healthy processed popcorn, the best way to ensure the popcorn is as healthy as it can be, is to do it yourself. It’s time to go back to basics and make popcorn the good old-fashioned way; on the stovetop!

Without unhealthy additions (butter, salt or sugar), popcorn is an ideal snack that has few calories and a lot of fibre. Fibre slows digestion, which prolongs fullness and holds you over until your next meal.

Swap out: Potatoes

Swap in: Sweet potatoes

Although both potato types are full of protein and have zero grams of fat, a medium baked sweet potato contains 58 fewer calories and 13 fewer grams of carbohydrates than a medium baked white potato. That's not a huge difference in the grand scheme of things, but every little helps.

However, sweet potatoes are full of nutrients and are delicious – in fact some say a super food.

Try them out for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

Swap out: Jarred sauces

Swap in: Homemade sauces

Most pre-made sauces are heavily processed, packed with unnecessary sugars and salt, and contain chemical preservatives to keep them fresh.

Rather than filling your cupboards with jars and bottles full of chemicals, try making your own sauces. Not only will you get to monitor what you are putting into your sauce, you will definitely taste the difference. Once you start from fresh, you won’t go back to processed.

Swap out: Mince beef

Swap in: Turkey mince

Poultry is generally considered to be a better choice than red meat in terms of calories, fat, and saturated fat. So if you are trying to lose weight or lower your cholesterol, turkey is a leaner protein choice.

Turkey mine has a bad reputation of being quite dry and not as tasty as beef, but this doesn’t have to be the case. When paired with vegetables, seasoning and a whole lot of love in recipes such as lasagne, bolognese or turkey burgers, you won’t regret swapping out your mince for turkey. We promise!

Making small changes to your diet is the healthiest and most achievable way to lose weight and stay healthy. Choosing healthier foods is easier than you may think and, by changing just a few eating habits, you can make a big difference to your diet and life.

If you want to change your lifestyle and diet, why not try out our meal planner? Choose from over 1000 recipes and let us plan your meals for you. From breakfast to dinner and everything in between. Make a life change now.

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